The joint venture, targeting sorghum, a widely known U.S. row crop that finds use in animal feed, cereals and industrial products, will now be researched to cater to a more responsible role of being able to brave odds like drought and also give out a rich yield of vitamins and minerals. This would indeed be a boon to the prevailing problems of hunger and malnutrition in Africa.
Luke Mehlo, a molecular biotechnologist who came to Iowa from South Africa, and is keenly involved with the team of African scientists said "A lot of people have died on the African continent, quite unnecessarily. We seek to have a crop that will enable us to survive during disasters and food shortages."
The scientists will camp at Iowa for the next three years, concentrating their expertise on the sorghum genes. By tweaking genes from other crops and orchestrating genes from within the sorghum plant itself, scientists are optimistic about doling out a crop that is richer in vitamins, amino acids and protein, which is also easily digestible. If this project is successful, it would be a major stride benefiting an estimated 300 million people in arid regions of Africa, whose main food source is sorghum.